The atmosphere is electric: bands playing trendy music, a packed arena or stadium full of screaming fans, an overzealous PA announcer hyping the crowd up during the game. You’re watching a college basketball game on an official visit, un-official visit, or maybe just simply as a fan. Although it’s easy to get entranced with the electric atmosphere of a college basketball game, it’s absolutely crucial to remain focused on one of your primary objectives: envisioning yourself as a player on the team.
Each college basketball coach will have a unique way he or she coaches. Paying close attention to some of these unique characteristics will help determine if a coach is the right fit for you, pay dividends during your recruiting process, and ultimately help find the school where you can best reach your goals.
When attending and watching college basketball games, here are three ways to help determine if a coach is the right fit for you:
Each college basketball coach around the country, regardless of level or sport, will have a unique coaching style. Some coaches are great motivators, but leave the bulk of the Xs & Os work to assistants. There are coaches who are great with Xs & Os, but allow assistants to handle motivating and inspiring individual players on the team. When attending and watching a college basketball game (hopefully from a close seat), it’s important to evaluate the coaching style, which will help determine if you will be able to thrive under the coach. Important questions to ask yourself while watching a college basketball game include:
- “Does the coach seemingly have great Xs & Os knowledge?”
- “How is the coach’s temperament during games? Is the coach even-keeled throughout the game…or is the coach’s temperament directly correlated with the team’s performance during the game?”
- “Do the players mostly interact with the head coach or specific position coaches during games?”
Ask Yourself: “Am I confident I could maximize my goals under this coaching style? Does my skill-set fit into this coaching style?”
Players’ Response to Coaching
In addition to watching the college basketball game itself and the coaches, it’s imperative to watch how the players respond to coaching. Some players might have slow starts during a game, but are able to pick up and increase their level of play throughout the game.
Conversely, some players might have hot starts in a game, but due to a variety of reasons, their level of play and confidence might slowly or even drastically decline during the game. Imperative questions to ask yourself as you are watching college basketball games include:
- “Do players appear confident on the court or field during games?”
- “Do players appear to play & compete loose & free during games…or do the players appear to play on eggshells and under pressure throughout the game?”
- “Are players seemingly having fun and enjoying playing for the coach?”
Ask Yourself: “How would I respond to this type of coaching? Is this the style of coaching that would help me become the best player I can be?”
Coach’s Reaction to Players’ Mistakes
Players are human. Coaches are human. Officials are human. Throughout a college basketball game, all parties involved will make mistakes. Players will make mistakes during a game, which can be minor, major, or, occasionally, untimely.
These mistakes might include: running the wrong inbounds play, missed box-out assignments, or not switching on a screen play. Although players will undoubtedly make mistakes during a game, it’s vital to watch how the coach reacts when players make mistakes!
Crucial questions to ask while watching college basketball games include:
- “Does the coach get verbally loud with players?”
- “Does the coach positively reassure and encourage players to shake off mistakes & keep playing hard?”
- “Does the coach quickly substitute for players after making mistakes or does the coach allow the players to play through mistakes?”
It’s important to remember that you could potentially be in the shoes of the players!
Ask Yourself: “Does this coach view mistakes as a sign of growth or a sign of incompetence? How would I respond to this coach’s reaction after I make a mistake?”
When attending and watching college basketball games, be sure you don’t get mesmerized in the atmosphere of the game. Instead, make sure that you are paying close attention to the coaches; remember, your goal is to become a player on the court! Most importantly, your recruiting process could be smoother as you will be able to narrow down to specific schools that will be the best fit for you and enable you to reach optimal success!